Gaining Awareness of Self - Ryan Hassan
If you’re reading this post then you’ve most likely just had a listen to Drew and myself dive deep in regards to:
What is Self?
- Where am I investing my sense of Self?
- If I’m not my personality then who am I?
I’ve included this diagram below to give some more clarity on our discussion.
So after listening to the podcast what are some practical steps you can take Now to start implementing these principles?
STEP 1 - Stepping back from your story
Awareness Technique -
This is the quick one minute technique I went through with Drew on the podcast.
We’ve included the audio of this below.
Do this technique once per day (twice if you’re really keen).
You’ll notice that after a few days or maybe a week the act of observing your thoughts will start to flow into your life. You’ll notice certain events or people will trigger certain thoughts. But you won’t identify with them and will become curious.
As you become more curious and the gap between observer and thoughts widens, you will be less critical of your thoughts and thus less critical of yourself.
STEP 2 - Observing the story from this new position
Now that you’re starting to become the curious observer of your thoughts it’s time to see which thought patterns keep coming up for you in all areas of your life.
Gather a pad or journal and write down the recurring thought patterns for the areas of your life.
- Physical: (eg - ‘I feel a certain way about parts of my body’)
- Family: (eg - ‘a certain family member drives me mad!’)
- Relationship: (eg - ‘it drives me crazy when my partner does…..’)
- Beliefs about self: (eg - ‘I’m just not good enough’)
- Work/Career: (eg - ‘my boss is an asshole, I’m just not doing what I love’)
- Social: (eg - ‘I’m always putting myself out for my friends’)
- Financial: (eg - ‘I’m just always struggling’)
STEP 3 - Letting go of emotions associated with the story
Emotions are an energy, they are a feedback system for us. As long as we’re human we’re going to experience emotions.
Where we run into trouble is when we hang onto emotions for days, weeks, months, years……
We hold emotions on our body and the more we accumulate over the years the heavier it feels.
Our natural reaction to negative emotions is to turn away from them. We suppress them, distract ourselves from them or try to throw them at other people. This blocks their flow.
To get the energy moving we must shine our full attention on them in our physical body.
For each of the thought patterns you wrote down in step 2, next to it write the underlying emotion (anger/sadness/fear/hurt/guilt/shame/etc).
Next we’re going to focus on one each day for the next week.
Relationship - ‘It drives me crazy when my partner does……’
Emotion - Anger.
- Once you have the thought put yourself in that situation and start to feel the anger.
- Now move into your body. Where can you feel the anger? (hands?/stomach?/chest?/head?).
- If it’s your stomach then we’re going to focus all of your attention there. Focus just on the sensation. If you start to find yourself thinking and getting back into a thought pattern just come back to the sensation. This will get easier and easier the more you do it.
- Make your full attention like a flashlight on the emotion. In time, if you stay out of your thoughts, the emotion will start to shift. It will come down in intensity and may move through other parts of your body. Keep going until you can feel it fully dissipate.
- If it doesn’t fully release after 5 minutes, then try again later in the day.
Our emotions are like clouds around certain events. Once lifted we can see things from a far greater perspective.
In this example the thing that your partner was doing may not annoy you at all anymore
You can ask them to stop, but now that request isn’t laden with anger and reactivity. This is a game changer.
So work on releasing one emotion per day for 7 days and see how much lighter you feel.
As Don Miguel Ruiz says ‘Practice makes the Master’ and the more you practice shifting emotions through the body and staying out of your head the easier it will get.
Ryan Hassan - Co-Founder at The Melbourne Centre of Healing.